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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  April 6, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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be willing to shake up the status quo and their commitment to providing exceptional service to americans across the countr country.mr. president, i know you and i today were at a budget hearing earlier in the day where i think both of us as former business members sometimes feel like our head's exploding in items of the ability for us to actually get an appropriate audit of federal spending and federal programs. we talked about different processes like the data act, where we can try to get more transparency. we've got to do all this but we also have to recognize and celebrate those federal employees who at the work level are coming up with great, innovative programs like mr. wagner has done. so while we may disagree on many items in terms of how we get to ultimate policy issues, i know the presiding officer has had a very successful career in business, he knows, i know as a former businessperson as well that oftentimes some of the best ideas come from our work force. we need to do more to celebrate
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those individuals like mr. wagner who come forward with good ideas that have been implemented on a cost-effective basis that both save time and save money with increased national security. with that, mr. president, i leave the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: thank you. president reagan, almost 30 years ago in fact said in 1988 the year that senator -- that justice kennedy was put on the supreme court, then judge kennedy in 1988 president reagan
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said every day that passes with the supreme court below full strength impairs the people's business in that crucially important body. mr. brown: president reagan realized in 1988 the year he left -- the last year of his presidency what president obama realizes in 2016, the last year of his presidency that afternoon eight-person supreme court runs counter to our national interests and runs counter, frankly, to the intent of our founders and especially as we modernize the supreme court. there's a reason the supreme court for i believe 150 years, something like that, has had an odd number of justices. that is, so they can make decisions. we saw the other day -- we've seen a couple of times already since justice scalia's death that the supreme court deadlocks. when the supreme court deadlocks, it's as if the case weren't even occurred. it also means that if there are
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two different district appellate cases -- i mean appellate cases, circuit cases that contradict one another, the supreme court would rule as a referee would to decide what would be the law of the land. when it's 4-4, the supreme court, it -- the outcome, the result is as if there was no supreme court decision at all so we have conflicting laws in different parts of the country. you can live in ohio and live under one set of rules and live a few miles away in pittsburgh and have another set of rules. this prolonged vacancy as a result is damaging to our country's highest court. 50 cases remain on the docket for this term. the supreme court likely is going to set a record for most tie votes. so 50 cases are for this term right now and then when the court meets again before at least according to senator mcconnell, the republican leader, before justice -- judge garland is considered for a vote, brought to a vote, if he ever is brought to a vote by
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senator mcconnell and the republican leaders, there will be another whole set of issues that he won't be able to rule on. so we're really sentencing ourselves as a nation to a potential 4-4 vote on case after case after case, week after week after week, month after months after month -- month after month through two supreme court calendar years for want of a better term. no term since 1990 has included more than two tie votes. a benchmark court has -- means we have no national standard on important issues, diminishes the important role the supreme court plays in our country. it's part of a pattern that's damaging the judiciary. last year the senate confirmed just 11 federal judges, the fewest in any year since 1960, almost six decades. it's the fewest in almost six decades. chief judge garland's qualifications are without question. the president really did reach across party lines, reached into the center aisle perhaps in
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choosing judge garland. he picked somebody that was significantly older as a nominee, something that most presidents don't want to do. they want to pick somebody in his or her 40's or early 50's so they have the opportunity at least mathematically the opportunity to serve more years. he picked somebody who had republican support in the past and has had glowing things said about him by people like the former judiciary republican chairman, senator hatch. his qualifications are without question. but in the end, the senate has just said they don't want to do their job. the last time there was a senate -- there was a vacancy on the supreme court for more than a year was during the civil war because we were in a civil war. the last time that a republican senate ratified or confirmed a democratic presidential nominee on the supreme court was 1895. this is a political party. this is a senate that needs to do its job.
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when i hear senator mcconnell first say he doesn't care, he's not going to do anything, he's going to wait till the next election, well, we had an election. president obama was elected to a four-year term, not three-year term, not three-fifths of a term but a four-year term. he's doing his job. the constitution says the president shall nominate and the senate shall advise and consent. the sen -- the senate needs to meet with this nominee, as i will do tomorrow, meet with judge garland. the senate needs to have hearings on judge garland and the senate needs to then bring him to a vote. the average supreme court nominee sitting on the court today, of the eight, the average time was 6 days to confirm that -- 66 days to confirm that nominee. this president still has close to 300 days left in his term. there's plenty of time to do that. the senate simply, pure and simple, just needs to do its job. it's incredible to the country, it's incredible to all of us that -- that really love this institution and think our government should work and does work most of the time, that
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senators are so dug in. most of my colleagues won't -- republican colleagues won't even meet with judge garland. almost none of them, with a couple of courageous exceptions, have called for hearings. and i believe only one or two has said that we should vote on his confirmation. the country doesn't understand why republicans are failing to do their jobs. it's important, election year or not, that the president -- that the congress do its job. mr. president, i ask that the remainder of my remarks be put in a different place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. for generations, our steelworkers have made -- manufacturing have made the steel that built this country. manufacturing is the cornerstone of our economy. we know that every dollar invested in manufacturing adds an additional $1.48 to the economy. but our steel industry's being left behind. years of outsourcing, years of illegal dumping -- dumping means foreign competitors will sell steel into the united states
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below the cost of production so it's just impossible to compete on price or quality really with them. they've taken their toll on our companies and our workers. i want to read a letter i got this year from a group of ohio steelworkers. i want to read you one that i chose to read from this. thomas kelling wrote, "as of january 11, 2016, there are 12,000 steelworkers laid off and i am one of them. when you include other manufacturers that deal with steel -- aluminum, refactory, et cetera -- there are 35,000 men and women out of work. thousands of immigrants came to this country looking for work years ago. the steel industry supplied them with work. without the steel industry, the country wouldn't be what it is today. every building, every car, every motorcycle, every bridge and so on are made of steel. the steel industry's taken a big hit because of illegal dumping by china and south korea and india and italy, among others. these countries subsidize their companies" -- i would add -- he
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didn't say this in the letter, i would add sometimes these companies are state owned and subsidized by the state -- "these countriessubsidize their countries so they're able to sell steel at a much lower country which, in turn, causes s the u.s. steel industry to decline, hurting thousands of families and the economy in general." mr. kelling is right. it's time for us to stand up for american steel manufacturers and workers who play by the rules but who drowned under a sea of illegal imports. far too many politicians seem content to throw up their hands and write off the industry and say that's old industry, we can buy our steel from somewhere else. they seem to assume because it's a tough problem, because it's complicated that it's not even worth trying to fix. but imagine if we would have said that about the auto industry. i know what this body did. i know there was a lot of republican opposition. some republicans, like senator voinovich, my colleague from ohio back then, were supportive. most colleagues -- most of my republican colleagues tried to block the bush administration, a
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fellow republican, and then the obama administration, they really dug in, in opposition to the auto rescue. but we know what happened. chrysler posted 7% gains in sales last year. g.m. and ford were not far behind with 5%. more car -- more vehicles were sold in 2015 than any time in american history. when that number had dropped to close to 10 million, it was back up to 16 million vehicles, that's a lot of auto worker jobs in ohio at chrysler and ford and g.m. and honda. it's also a lot of auto worker supply chain jobs, some union, some not, some auto worker union, some other union, some nonunion, but thousands of jobs in the supply chain, making glass and tires and -- and all kinds of -- hub caps and metal tops and all the things, hardtops for the chrysler, whatever they are, all over and gearshifts and transmissions and begins, all in plants all over ohio. -- and engines, all in plants
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all over ohio. so don't tell me, mr. president, we can't save the steel industry. don't tell workers like thomas kelling that it isn't worth saving. there are concrete steps we can take first to enforce the level the playing field act. we passed this law last year to make it easier for workers and business to petition our government when foreign producers are cheating on the rules. we know this happens all too often, especially in this industry, because so many countries around the world have their own steel industry. some who don't even use much of the steel they make but know they've got -- they've got a country, us, where they can dump the steel. this law is only as strong as its enforcement. the commerce department needs to apply so-called adverse facts available, or a.f.a., in trade cases where a foreign company is not cooperating. if we don't apply adverse facts available when it's warranted, we allow countries and companies that are cheating to get away with violating the law at the expense of our companies, at the
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expense of workers in lorain and miles to and youngstown -- and niles and youngstown and middletown and all over our country and all over our state. second, we need to fully fund the office of enforcement and compliance. this office investigates the charges of illegal subsidies and dumping by foreign producers. there are so many violations. this office is overwhelmed. trade investigations are lengthy, they're difficult, they're labor intensive. we're a nation of laws. we enforce laws. we enforce rules. we follow laws. we follow the rules. so that we can play fair on trade cases. but that takes time and that takes expertise and that's why we need to fund the office of enforcement and compliance. third, the administration needs to do everything in its power to address global overcapacity, particularly from china. it's the single biggest challenge facing our domestic steel industry. china has excess steel making capacity of 300 million metric tons. what does that mean? it means they can make 300 million metric tons more than
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they use in their country. what does that mean? that means they're looking for a market and they're willing to subsidize their steel production to dump their steel into ohio, to dump their steel into detroit in auto plants, to dump their steel where we -- where we build roads and bridges and appliances. last year china exported more steel than the total tonnage of steal produced by u.s. manufacturers. think of that. chinese capacity in steel making is about the same as the rest of the world combined. one. second, china, as i said, china made more steel -- excuse me, exported more steel last year than the total tonnage of steel produced by u.s. manufacturers. no wonder our companies face such serious challenges. china's the single biggest contributor to excess capacity but the problem is spreading elsewhere. the chinese have committed to reducing steel production but have failed to follow through. our steel industry's done the right thing. our industry restructured to a
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sustainable model a decade ago. competitive, smart, productive. but it's now under threat again from chinese imports. we have to file complaints and petitions against this unfair competition. these cases take too long. to stop the flood of cheap, illegal imports once and for all, we need a permanent shutdown of production in countries whose steel industry are not driven by the market. let me give you an example. korea was dumping steel -- south korea was dumping steel, making something called oil country tubular steel, o.t.c. -- octc goods, oil country tubular good. and they made these -- these are pipes made for drilling, for fracking, for drilling for oil and gas. now, makes sense, right? south korea didn't have a domestic industry. they use not one of these steel pipes they manufacture. what were they doing? they were selling them under cost in the united states. they basically created an industry to make steel, to dump
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that steel in the united states, keep their workers going at the expense of our companies and our workers. we won trade cases against them but it often took long and by the time we won these cases, a lot of damage was done to those companies and to those workers. now, finally we need to renegotiate the rules of o orig, the auto rules of origin in the trans-pacific partnership. these rules of origin determine how much of a car is made in these 12 countries in the trans-pacific partnership regions. under the t.p.p. rules of origin are even weaker than they were in the north american free trade agreement. what does that mean? that means only 40% of an auto coming into a t.p.p. country, sold in a t.p.p. country, only 40%-some of that auto needs to be made in t.p.p. countries. so -- so what that means is thau could build more than 50% -- more than 50% of the components for a newly made car can come
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from china, sold into the united states or mexico or canada or any of the 12 countries, with no tariffs. so the whole point of the trans-pacific partnership is to strengthen the auto supply chain and to strengthen these 12 countries' economy. but the way our negotiators did it was it dropped the percentage components, the so-called rules of origin, from 60%-some to 40%-some so china can backdoor. think about mr. kelling's words. 35,000 women and men out of work. 35,000 families who've been forced to have terrible conversations around the kitchen table. they've got to sell their house, they're maybe going to get foreclosed on because they're not working. they've got to cut back on sports at the local school. because of, frankly, of a state government and our state that underfunds schools. if kids want to play sports, no matter if they're low-income kids, they want to pay sports, they've got to pay for it. nothing like that when i was growing up. but it's a different world and we have a state government that doesn't respond to in so many ways to the concerns of young
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parents, that they've got to come up with money. they can't do that now when they've lost their jobs. so it's -- all this impact that this has on families. the bad news doesn't stop with the family layoff. these conversations don't stop with mom and dad having to -- getting laid off. they lead toly month having to take a -- lead to mom having to take a second job at night, to maybe selling the car, seeing the house foreclosed and all those things we talked about. mr. kelling writes "the livelihoods of thousands are counting on you." i ask my colleagues to think about what that means. that doesn't just men their income. a job is so much more important to that. it's the ability to put food on the table, send the kids to college, to save something for retirement. it's the difference between a thriving community and a dying community. we can't stand by and watch communities turn to ghost towns because foreign competitors don't play by the rules. the administration doesn't take -- it means -- it means that we have to take action that levels the playing field and holds our trading partners accountable. if the administration doesn't take the bold, decisive action
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soon, we'll get thousands more letters, as do more and more of my colleagues will also get these letters. thousands more workers like thomas are going to lose their livelihoods and our country will be worse off because of it. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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